Geraldine Kreitz passed away last Thursday & anyone who knew her is bereft. She was a friend of mine for over 16 years. I met her after I was laid off a good job as a quality control inspector at General Electric. Because of my age & the disinclination of employers to hire former union workers, I was scrounging for a living doing minimum wage work, house cleaning, & professional organizing. She did house cleaning, including for a wealthy couple who needed a professional organizer to clear out decades of accumulated clutter & she recommended me for the job. For a few years, we worked for the same couple & it was then that we became friends. I fell in love with her honesty &–dare I call it?–sweetness.

We were both working class girls with a hardscrabble time trying to find our place in this world. We both worked our ways through the University of Minnesota–apparently not successfully since we both ended up in middle-age scrounging for a living. I loved her no-nonsense, no bullshit attitude; I loved that she didn’t have an ounce of cynicism nor any self-pity. I loved that she was politically tough-minded & extremely intelligent although her demeanor was quiet & unpretentious, even self-effacing. In her social media work, she focused a lot on the US concentration camps for refugee children, on Palestinians, on social justice generally. She was a brilliant Scrabble player.

Gerry told me a few months ago that she was given only a short time to live because of respiratory issues from a lifetime of smoking. When I asked her how short, she told me probably a couple years but I knew from her description of her condition that she meant only a matter of months. I had no idea it would just be weeks.

Were it not for social media, many would not know Gerry because of her unpretentious ways. For those who didn’t know her, she had a truly beautiful spirit, a kind spirit. She became friends with many of my friends & family members. We ask you to join us in honoring her life. I send my deepest condolences to her children & family & want them to know we loved her & will never forget her. May our beloved Gerry Rest In Peace.